Pandemic and economic growth

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The lateness and lack of integration of the Indonesian government’s response to the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19 that has scared the public in the country even has killed patients tested positive of the virus, which has now been declared a global pandemic, causing anxiety and criticism.

At the beginning of the virus outbreak in the country that was March 2 until March 20, the patients with positive coronavirus and mortality are getting increased. Even the virus has infected the cabinet member and mayor.

Last week, President Jokowi finally established a task force to accelerate the handling of Covid-19, led by the head of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, Doni Monardo. Unfortunately, this policy did not come with an explanation of a comprehensive and transparent strategy to build public trust and optimism.

President Jokowi admitted to the press that the government is not passing on all of the data to the public in order to avoid panic. This is clearly a mistake. Censoring information will only make the people ask more questions about the scale of the pandemic in our nation.

Public questioning why the government censoring information unlike other countries, Singapore and Taiwan who proved that transparency is the key to successfully dealing with the spread of the disease.

The Indonesian government also had rejected aid from other countries. It is truly regrettable that the health ministry ignored an offer of help in the form of test kits from Singapore.

The lockdown issue also becomes polemic among local residents, especially in Jakarta. From one side, lockdown is needed to protect its residents from infection of virus, but in the other side people with informal jobs experiencing slowing economy. While, formal employees are asked to work from home.

Currently, the cities doing precaution of the virus by spraying disinfectant and suspend publics gathering, including asking muslims not to have congregational prayer temporarily in some mosques.

And, finally the government taking concrete steps that will do rapid test to Covid-19 suspects. The government through State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) import rapid test kit from China and will arrive within weeks in partial delivery. With properly coordinated government measures, the people will become calmer. At this time, public solidarity must also be maintained, also the thing that should be as consideration for government responsibility, such as maintaining economic growth

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